London Heathrow Airport opportunistically claim the changed economic conditions stemming from Brexit mean that the economy needs a boost which they are best placed to deliver.
An Australian firm Track11 say they agree with the sentiment but the Australian firm says the conclusion is all wrong and brands existing projections as being based on illogical assumptions. They say better infrastructure is desperately needed, but efficiency is more important, and it makes sense to work with what we have.
Track11 has developed a plan for expansion of Britain's airport capacity, and a complementary plan for a variant of High Speed 2 they claim is much better integrated with the existing railway system than HS2 Ltd's version.
Although neither the airport expansion plan nor the HS2 plan is contingent upon the other, they do share the strategy of linking airports by rail, and together they could form the basis for an integrated transport plan for the entire nation. The plans are on the web at http://airports.track11.com.au/ and http://hs2.track11.com.au
Track 11 sounds off about The Airports Commission Report [TACR] which cost some £20 million but is widely thought to have used outdated statistical information and totally underestimated Gatwicks current passenger throughput, TACR have recommended expanding Heathrow. Track11 pull no punches branding the Airports Commissions' final report as ill informed, greatly overestimating the value of hubs because of misconceptions about how they work.
"It also ignores the potential for value capture;and though it advocates spending tens of billions of pounds on new runway construction, it only recommends modest spending on surface transport improvements, mostly on measures that add nothing to connectivity.
Track11 takes a different approach, aiming to maximise the benefits of airports with a cheaper, more dispersed solution, giving a much greater attention to road and rail links to airports. It also has a stronger long term focus, with recommendations to cater for every plausible scenario throughout the rest of this century."
The Track11 HS2 plan would enable high speed trains to commence operating sooner because, as with HS1, the easy to construct part would initially be accessed via an existing route, in this case the West Coast Main Line (but equally the East Coast Main Line could be considered anew) It could cut the London to Birmingham journey time to under an hour far sooner than the official plan, and the ultimate journey time would also be lower. It would also support a more intensive service, and directly serve more destinations. And the most controversial section of the route (through the Chilterns) would be avoided.
Without the imperative to complete every tunnel between London and Birmingham before the trains start running, there would be more time available to bore the tunnels. Because of that, more of the tunnels could be constructed in series. This would give significant cost savings because fewer tunnel boring machines would be needed, and because TBM crew productivity improves with experience as the crews learn how to get the best results from their machine.
The firm stress that the Track11 HS2 plan is only a variant of HS2. Most of the Track11 HS2 alignment is exactly the same as the HS2 Ltd version. Where there is a difference it is to address a defect or shortcoming in the HS2 Ltd plan. But most of that plan is adequate, and switching to an alternative plan that starts from scratch (such as the HSUK plan) would cause lots of unnecessary delays while failing to ultimately give better results.
Heathrow Airport claim the changed economic conditions stemming from Brexit mean that the economy needs a boost which they are best placed to deliver. Track11 agrees with the sentiment but profoundly disagrees with the conclusion. Better infrastructure is desperately needed, but efficiency is more important, and it makes sense to work with what we have and be wary of projections based on illogical assumptions.
**** Track11 is an Adelaide based transport engineering consultancy business, and is not affiliated with the British communications company Track Eleven Limited.
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